Too often, events are seen as big expensive parties rather than what they actually are, a tremendous tool for marketing, engagement, and helping to retain customers. Let’s talk ROI. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by up to 45% according to The Harvard Business Review. Those numbers stress the importance of keeping your existing customers engaged. If you’re still on the fence about events, here are 7 compelling reasons why events will help you retain customers.
A reason to get in touch
The first way to retain customers is to get in touch. Hosting an event is a marvelous opportunity to reach out to your previous clients, potential clients, and even completely cold connections. If the subject line of your email is inviting someone to an event, you’re significantly more likely to get a response. No one likes those classic “just checking in” emails we all get. Post-event, once you’ve shown them what a super cool engaging fun company you are and they’ve had the best evening of their decade (we like to be ambitious), you have an excuse to send a follow-up email, that’s if they don’t get in first to tell you how good it was…
Keeps you front of mind
So now you’ve sent the invite and reminded people you exist. You’re at the front of their mind. It’s important to do your best to stay there. The next time they need your product or service, they think of you. Most people will immediately put a note in their diary, which then gives another month of you being present every time they open their calendar app. Every time they look at their diary they’ll see your event, further cementing your existence.
For extra visibility points, when you send your confirmation email, attached a calendar invite with your company name as the header. This significantly reduces the chances of someone adding the event to their calendar without your company name being visible. You also get plenty more excuses to land in their inbox with confirmation emails, reminders, etc.
Opportunity to speak face to face
Emails are great, as is LinkedIn, as are conference calls; you get the point. Really, we all know that nothing beats face to face. The purpose of your event will play a large part here. Maybe the purpose is to collect feedback on a recent product. Being in front of your consumers will be a perfect opportunity to gather more information. In our experience, minimal amounts of people will click on a feedback survey link embedded in an email, you’ll be lucky if you get 10%. Even then, you only get the people who feel they really have something to say, rather than a good overall view. But that’s an article for another time.
Speaking to people face to face allows them to be much more honest in their responses. Plus, you can give prompts such as “Was there anything you’d like to see changed?”. That feedback in itself is incredibly valuable.
Of course, it’s not all business. Most relationships are built outside the office over a glass of something, we all know that. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the people you work with outside of a work context.
Word of mouth
Put simply, it gives people a reason to talk about you. From sharing with their colleagues in the office while making a coffee to the other people you might be introduced because of it. If you’re the facilitator of networking, you better bet your name is coming up in conversation more frequently.
Doing something that gets people talking is key here. The aim is for them to go home and share the pictures to their Instagram, or tell their friends and family how phenomenal it was. However, to achieve that you have to do something different, something which is becoming trickier and trickier in a crowded market. Luckily, we’re experts. Give us a shout if you want to hear some impressive ways to do this.
Sense of importance and community
Inviting people to an event puts them in the category of “chosen”, which definitely helps you retain customers. Smaller events tend to work better at creating this “elite” feel, but the same theory does apply to a drinks reception for 500. Those 500 have been selected to be invited, and it creates a feeling that you think they’re important.
If you’re inviting lots of people who can network with each other, you’ll be creating a sense of community around your event. In a previous life, I used to run a series of events for the next generation in the industry (a polite way of saying anyone under 30). We eventually ran the event four times a year, and people would treat it similarly to a school reunion. When you’ve created something where one person asks another “Are you going to xxx?” you’ve cracked the code. Word of mouth marketing done.
Set an expectation
For those super cold clients who know nothing about you, an event is an exceptional opportunity to show how awesome your company is, and all the things you can do for them. This is different for every business. Maybe you’re an estate agent and you want to set a precedent that you’re not as cringey as your competitors, here’s your chance. Maybe you’re a marketing agency and you want to show everyone how many great connections you have, here’s your chance. Or maybe you just want to show everyone that you’re a really enjoyable company. From the event branding to the way it looks, feels, and even smells. Everything sets a precedent of what to expect going forward. The same theory applies for a re-brand, re-launch, etc.
That’s what it’s all about right? The Harvard Business Review reported that it’s on average 15X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Events are a brilliant way to ultimately connect with your customers and community. In turn, this strengthens the number of times each that customer will come back to you next time they’re in need.
If you’re inviting all of your past customers, it’s also a brilliant opportunity to say a genuine and sincere thank you. After all, would your business be where it is now without your past customers?
If this hasn’t convinced you that hosting considered and creative events are important, we don’t know what will! If you already run events, how has that helped your business? Comment below.
If you’d like some advice on how to get the most benefit from hosting an event and how to retain customers, book a call with our team of experts today.